The last time I felt anything other than trepidation going into a season may have been the first one which started with Dougie Freedman as manager. How far the club has fallen since the bookies installed Bolton Wanderers as second favourites for promotion to the Premier League.
Bolton are though once again amongst the favourites for promotion, and I cannot help getting a little excited.
I’m going to go with Antoni Sarcevic, though there have been a few which have really impressed me, showing foresight for the first time in years with recruitment. Though the likes of Eoin Doyle, Liam Gordon and Gethin Jones also look to be good captures I think Sarce brings a bit of steel and class to the heart of the midfield which could be key for playing our way out of this league.
Barring injury it is impossible to look beyond Doyle. It is encouraging to see Nathan Delfonso grabbing a few goals in pre-season but I cannot see him keeping pace with last season League Two top scorer. Another golden boot may be on the cards, when was the last time a Bolton player won that? Maybe 1996?
Game you’re looking forward to the most
Having spent five years living in Exeter, and still being in touch with a few Exeter City fans, that match up is one I have been excited about for years. We were always hoping City could grab promotion to join us in League One, but it takes Bolton dropping down to make it a reality.
Only shame is, I am not sure with social distancing, etc., that I will be able to get a ticket for the game at St James’ Park!
Opposing player you love
I would be lying if I claimed I could name more than a small handful of League Two players so I don’t really know how to answer this one. Exeter’s Pierce Sweeney has always stood out to me.
Key player this season
I’m going with Ali Crawford. I can see a lot of teams trying to park the bus against us and I can see him being a key man in unlocking these defences. Crawford really should be playing League One football, and were it not for injury and the early curtailment of last season he may well be. It was a big coup keeping him on board for me.
Predict the first six games
I’m being optimistic so feel free to blame me if we are bottom of the league...
Carabao Cup: Home vs Bradford City - I’m optimistic that we will make a strong start to the season. The game is effectively a final pre-season outing so I expect a strong side, 2-1 Bolton.
League Two: Home vs Forest Green Rovers - If memory serves FGR spent a fair amount of last season in the automatic promotion hunt. I expect this to be a tough game but for Bolton to come through. 1-0.
League Two: Away vs Colchester United - Are Colchester any good? After two home wins maybe we are a little complacent. 2-2.
League Two: Home vs Newport - This lot would have received a fiery welcome if fans were in attendance. Going for an other home win, 2-0.
League Two: Away vs Harrogate Town - It is a shame that the first possible game with fans is away and not even at the oppositions actual ground. I expect Harrogate to struggle this season, 3-1 Bolton.
League Two: Home vs Grimsby Town - Boosted by the first crowd of the season, the lads will up their game. 4-0.
Final league position
Bolton never do anything the easy way, so I’m going with second, not far ahead of third and fourth.
Any other business anticipated?
Ian Evatt talked about wanting four more players and has only singed one more at the time of writing. So, I think the answer to that is yes. But I don’t think the club are in any rush, and quite rightly. We have a full squad at this point with some youngsters like Callum King-Harmes and Adam Senior who could probably benefit from loan spells.
I think the club will bide their time before bringing in a mixture of desperate free agents and higher league loanees. Maybe Manchester City might fancy loaning a youngster or two to an expansive League Two side?